Never too late

Beautiful view on our way to a client visit

As many of you may know, Kiva borrowers come from all corners of the world, all ethnic backgrounds, all ages, marital status, etc. What they all have in common is an undying desire to improve their lives and the lives of their family. They all work really hard, day in and day out, and I have yet to meet someone who complains.  The hard work they put in every day doesn’t even compare to what many of us think of when we say we work hard.  To even begin to understand you really have to meet the people, see where they live, learn the stories. I’ll try to take you on that journey with my next few posts.

This month F. Campo’s fundraising goal on Kiva is twice as much as the prior month. This is their second month after going live on Kiva.org. This is all part of the process of becoming an active partner, and my workplan as a Kiva Fellow. This week I’ve drafted many profiles of male clients.  In particular, older men, well passed 45.  What amazed me the most is that at an age when most citizens of the “developed world” are thinking about not working, these folks are thinking of and creating new businesses. Not only that, they are pushing the envelope, making a ding in their world.  I know many would think that this is the case precisely because they live in impoverished communities, that if they had the choice they would choose not to work too. I beg to differ. Let’s take one of Fundacion Campo’s clients,  his name is Vidal.

Vidal with his corn field

Vidal is 56, and he is not your average farmer. He works as a day-worker at a farm during the 9 months of dry season here in El Salvador. During the other 3 months he is self-employed, and he cultivates an area of 14,000 sq meters of just corn. He lives near a river, so the soil is good. Vidal noticed that his neighbors, also farmers, did not take advantage of the good land. He also noticed that perhaps if they worked together they could all do a bit better. So, Vidal started a cooperative with his neighbors.  Through the cooperative all the farmers can get better prices for their supplies, negotiate prices to sell their corn, and also get technical assistance from agro-engineers provided by an NGO. Vidal is the founder and leader for the cooperative.

Since Vidal sees that the land is not being used to its full potential, he has decided to get a loan to do more with it. He has requested a loan to buy a water pump and PVC tubs to build an artisanal irrigation system for part of his crop. He will also buy seeds to grow vegetables and provide better nutrition for his family. Vidal believes that if he shows the other farmers that it can be done, they will be motivated to do the same.

I think Vidal is a pretty awesome guy.  While I redact some of these profiles* I am reminded that we have so much to learn from each other, regardless of where we live, the language we speak, or the size of our bank account.

Check out the stories of Fundacion Campo’s clients on Kiva, or join our newly created lending team! I’m sure you will be amazed what you can learn from reading these powerful stories, and you’ll want to help.

*The Kiva Coordinator and I draft the profiles in Spanish, apologies for the (sometimes) crummy translation. Kiva relies on volunteers to translate all profiles, and they’re often times not native Spanish speakers. More to come on who is the Kiva Coordinator.

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Posted on October 14, 2011, in El Salvador, Fundacion Campo, Kiva, Microfinance, rural lending, travel, Volunteering and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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